I am just finishing up an Allen Say author study with my fourth graders. Here are Wordles and Tagxedos expressing the themes and ideas the students heard during the author study:
This author study involves: exploring learning about his journey; reading many of his books; exploring themes in his work; learning about his creative process; watching an interview with Allen Say, where he talks about all these things; and, reflecting on the experience. There is also a wonderful article here.
I am leaving out my favorite part, which involves the students working in small groups to write text for an illustration from Lost Lake. I then have the students read their text (or short story) for each illustration in order, while I project the illustration with my Elmo document camera. There is an "aha moment" when they realize the illustrations are all from one story. I then read the actual book.The reflection/assessment for this lesson comes in the discussion where we compare their story with Allen Say's story and reflect on his creative process. It has always followed that since Allen Say creates all the art for his stories first and then goes back to write the story, that the art should stand on its own enough to tell the story -- and it does! The students are amazed when the mood, setting, and emotions in their story match those of Allen Say's. It is great stuff. (I did write to the publisher asking permission to use pages from his book in this way.)
So here we are, at the end of the author study. I asked the students to reflect on what they had learned and then gave them the option of also expressing what they enjoyed or learned through our Weebly blog, Tagxedo or Wordle. Here's what they had to say: